In the peaceable valley of Empetria, evil lord Evoltias invades invades, and takes over. King Negulus, and Prince Nickolas, must journey to the western shore, and seek help from the army of Petrec...
By Everett Davis
In the whole land of Duecontius, the most peaceable place was the valley of Empetria. The People never needed to fight, because all of Duecontius was land of peace.
There was however, a gigantic ocean just west of the valley. Any enemy could come across the sea so the people thought up a plan.
At one time all of Duecontius was covered in water. The last wizard, known to mankind, whose name was Afflegaffen, found the land, and dried up the water. While Duecontius was covered in water, a valley had formed. One of the mountains that made up the valley was hollow on the inside.
It had many gaping passageways and tunnels. It became known as Petrectufus3. There were many people who went to that mountain to live, and defend the coast against invaders, just in case they did come.
The rest of the valley became inhabited by a king named King Nickolas. He had come from a distant land, built the castle of Empetrias5 Ross, and named the valley Empetria. The king was a good king, and allowed any traveler to stay at his castle.
Afflegaffen went to live at Empetrias Ross, in the highest tower.
So, it would seem that Duecontius was safe. They had Petrectufus guarding the western shore. It seemed impossible for evil to enter the land. But I happened anyway.
Evoltias! The name everyone feared. More than one hundred years had passed since Nickolas came to Duecontius. No one knew where Evoltias the warlord had come from. It seemed that he and his great army of three hundred men had just appeared one day. He had built a strong fortress and named it after himself. This was his base. What he really wanted was to rule the valley of Empetria. He had bided his time. The moment had now come to move in and take the valley. Soon it would be his.
At the castle of Empetrias Ross, everyone was getting ready for a feast to honor the coronation of Prince Nickolas. In Empetria, before one became the king, your father lead with you, until you were ready to rule on your own.
Nickolas was fourteen. The first step he had to complete was the solving of three riddles. The riddles would appear written in the sky in front of everyone at the coronation feast. They were a different color and texture for every king-to-be. Nickolas would then have the remainder of the feast to solve them. If he succeeded, he would then move onto the next task. If he failed, well no one had ever failed before; Nickolas wasn't worried.
Afflegaffen was not, in fact, the only wizard left in the world. Even though all of humankind thought wizards were extinct. Leonson7 was a wizard and a spy for Evoltias. Leonson could take the form of any other person, and create illusions.
"Leonson, my wonderful little pet," crooned Evoltias sarcastically, "what did you find out today?"
Leonson cleared his throat and gulped, "The coronation feast is tonight."
Evoltias rasped with even more sarcasm in his voice, "Oh yes, our king-to-be, Nickolas." Full of rage, Evoltias yelled, "Nickolas will never receive the crown. You will stop him!"
Evoltias leaned forward and grabbed Leonson by the collar, and with a hiss in his voice he commanded. "You are to make the riddle in the sky not appear. Then, claim the crown for yourself. Now go!"
At sundown, the feast began. The cooks had outdone themselves. The tables had so much food on them; they sagged under all the weight.
After much feasting, Negulus got up his thrown and proclaimed, "Today, we are here, to honor my son's coronation. He will be king and he will be a good one as well. I have been king these long years, and have governed you all wisely. I know my son will do the same." His words were greeted with great applause. "Everyone be watching. The first riddle is about to appear."
Everyone waited, and waited, but the riddle did not materialize.
Then, Leonson got to his feet, and said, "It seems that the riddle is not going to appear. I guess your son is not ready to be king. Why don't we pick someone else?"
At first everyone booed, but as Leonson raised his hand, the boos gradually changed to clapping. Of course, Leonson was making them think that the king and his son were not fit to rule. This was simply mind control.
Leonson suggested, "All the boys of fourteen or older should take turns sitting on King Negulus' throne. For the right one, the riddle will appear."
All the young men of the kingdom walked to the throne and sat one-by-one. The riddle did not appear to any. Then Leonson took his turn. The riddle appeared.
"Hail Leonson, our new king," shouted the audience.
"Wait," cried Negulus. "Give my son more time to prove his worthiness."
"Give my son more time, Leonson," Negulus pleaded. "The Empetrian Law clearly states that when one becomes king, the former king guides and helps him until he is truly ready to-"
"I am aware of the law, Negulus," interrupted Leonson. "And you are wrong to think you are still king. The law says 'when one becomes king, his father guides and helps him until he is truly ready to accept the burden of the kingdom.' I have no living father, therefore, the kingdom is mine, no questions asked.
"Because you and your son are no longer the royal family, I say you find yourself a nice guild to begin work in. The shoemaker's guild seemed like it wasn't quiet full. Why don't you try it on for size?"
After the feast, Nickolas and Negulus took all their belongings, and left for the Outer Kingdom. In Empetria, everyone shared the protection of the king, and the kingdom's walls. The Inner Kingdom was where the closest friends of the king lived. The Outer Kingdom was where the peasants and the tradesmen lived. The wall of the kingdom still gave them protection from enemies.
"I grabbed a copy of the Empetrian Law, before we left," said Negulus. "I'm going to try and find a loophole in it that will allow us to gain our kingdom back."
"It's too bad we didn't grab a horse before we left," said Nickolas. "It will be along walk there and a long walk back if we need anything."
Father and son walked side by side, in silence for the rest of the trip. When they arrived, they walked into the main shoe shop.
"Ah, Negulus, Nickolas, what a pleasure!" said the shoemaker, as soon as the royal family walked in. "I heard that the Coronation feast was tonight. I'm sorry to say I missed it. Are you coming by to show me the new king, your son?"
"Well actually John, a tyranny is afoot, in this kingdom. The riddle for my son did not appear!" declared the king. "I can't say why."
"This man named Leonson just came and said I wasn't ready to be king!" cried Nickolas.
"Leonson,"mused the shoemaker. "I've never heard the name. I don't think he's from this kingdom in fact! Check with the master of the guilds. He knows everyone in the kingdom by face and name."
"Thank you. I'll make sure I do that. I'll become king again, one day."
"Master Evoltias, I'm not sure I can keep the riddle from appearing in the sky any longer! A potent spell has been cast across the sky. I'm not sure I can hold it off much longer!" exclaimed Leonson.
"Leonson, just hold it off long enough for my ranks to get to the city gates. Then all you have to do is let me inside, so I can claim the kingdom. I never liked Negulus, and his son is even worse. Where are they now?" asked Evoltias.
"I sent them to the shoemaker's guild. Why do you ask?" Leonson questioned.
"It's time to settle the score. When I get there, they will be sorry they ever knew Empetria existed..." Evoltias arose from his makeshift throne, and got ready to call in his army to march to Empetria. Leonson had cast a spell that allowed two people to hold a conversation from a distance.
"I want you to come look at this, Nickolas." Negulus had just gotten back from the guild master, not knowing anything more about Leonson than he already knew. "I found the loophole we've been looking for. It says that'if the riddle fails to appear then, if need be, the prince must go on aperilous journey to lands of Petrectufus.' They are the ones who defend our shores against invaders. They also are the wisest minds in Duecontius. 'This quest will automatically guarantee him the throne. It is illegal to steal the throne from the royal family, because they have been the ones who have ruled Empetria forever.' "
"So, we could go to Petrectufus?" inquired Nickolas.
"I only want to do that as a last resort. The way is perilous. I'd say we should get Leonson to step down. If he refuses, then we must go. My guess is that once Leonson is gone, the riddle will appear to you. If not then we will embark to Petrectufus."
"So you're back, Negulus. Did you forget something?" Leonson held up the Empetrian crown that was once Negulus'.
"/Leonson,/I have come to reclaim my kingdom," spat Negulus.
"Sorry. The Kingdom is mine now. How are you going to retrieve it?"
"I have been studying the Empetrian law. You have no right to just take it away from me and my son like that." Negulus unrolled the scroll of the law, and read, "'if the riddle fails to appear then, if need be, the prince must go on aperilous journey to the lands of Petrectufus. This quest will automatically guarantee him the throne. It is illegal to steal the throne from the royal family, because they have been the ones who have ruled Empetria forever.'"
Leonson clapped his hands sarcastically. "Good job Negulus. I'm sorry. Idon't think that will do it. You see, now that I'm king, I can change any of the Empetrian laws I want. With the crown on my head, all I have to do is declare the new law, and then it will be so. You grabbed a scroll of the Empetrian law before it had been revised. The new laws have been spoken, and everyone is bound by them. That scroll that you have is useless. So let me guess, you came back to get me to step down."
"If that was your goal, you should have done it before you left. If you had thought to do it then, I wouldn't be sitting here on the throne. I have revised the law, making tyranny allowable. Sorry old man you've lost. Now you will be escorted out of the kingdom. You can make your quest to Petrectufus if you want. It makes no difference to me."
Empetria had always had spells that were woven deep into the land. A simple example was that the gates of Empetria would open to a simple tradesman coming to sell his goods, but not to a powerful warlord like Evoltias, who wanted to take over the kingdom. Leonson did not tell anyone that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't overcome these parts of the law.
"Before Ileave, I would like to attend to a matter of business," requested Negulus.
"By all means," Leonson offered sarcastically. "I hope you won't mind if one of my guards accompanies you."
"What are we doing father?" asked Nickolas.
"The last wizard of the world is said to live in Empetria. The kings were told only to go to him in a dire situation. He might be able to help. It is time to consult with Afflegaffen."
Negulus and his son walked across the lawn, and entered the main castle building. The king led Nickolas to his private chamber. He turned the doorknob as if it were a safe, and he was unlocking it with a combination. Two turns to the left, and three to right, created a clicking noise. The colossal Emperor Size bed that Negulus slept in moved. Underneath the spot where the bed had been, was a trapdoor.
Negulus gestured with his hand for Nickolas to go first. After Nickolas was in, the King entered, pulling the door shut. Nickolas could distinctly hear the clicking as the bed moved back to where it had been.
When Nickolas' eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw a ladder leading down. The two descended the ladder. Nickolas found it only went down five feet. As soon as they touched the ground, torches that Nickolas had failed to see before, burst into flame, lighting their way. Down acorridor they walked, until they came to the beginning of a spiral staircase.
"This is the way that leads to Afflegaffen," said Negulus. "We must ascend these stairs to reach him."
Up and around they climbed, and at last, they reached another trapdoor.
Negulus, going first this time, pushed open the door...
"Hello,"said a voice. Nickolas and his father had come out into a brightly lit, study-like room. The voice, Nickolas concluded, had come from the high backed armchair that rested, facing the fire.
Nickolas walked over to the armchair, but before he reached it, a man got up from it.
"Hello, Negulus," said the man again, "and I take it this is your son?"
The man was ancient, with a long, white beard. He wore an elaborate robe, that couldn't hide his thin and frail frame. The robe was scarlet red with lighter red leaves, embroidered into it.
"Yes. Afflegaffen, we need your help. There is a tyranny afoot in my kingdom. We seek assistance freeing all my people. It all started when the riddle failed to appear, at the coronation feast. Someone I've never heard of before, named Leonson, came and said that we weren't fit to rule. Then he took over the kingdom."
"I am still a wizard. When I found I was the last one left, I cast a spell that made it so that there could be a minimum of one wizard in the world. Sadly, the maximum is also one. This tower, that was once my home, is now my prison. I can use magic to keep it clean; my magic is limited to the confines of this tower. For instance, the torches that lit themselves, can sense evil and good. If you had come here with an evil intent, then they would have turned into a poisonous vapor that would have killed you instantly. Because you are here for a good cause, the torches helped, not hindered you."
"It must /not/be fun to be the only wizard left, and have to stay in this tower," said Nickolas.
"Admitted, it might not be fun for me, but when I departed into this realm, it opened the chance for another wizard to start practicing as one."
"Sorry to interrupt, but do you know why the riddle didn't materialize?" asked Negulus.
"When Itried to write it in the sky, I felt that I was being blocked by a much stronger wizard. That could be the source of the tyranny," said Afflegaffen.
"So you make the riddles?" asked Nickolas.
"Yes. This is the scroll that I pick them from." The wizard picked up a scroll, labeled 'Coronation Riddles,' off his desk. "I felt this new wizard attempting to change some of the laws. I couldn't do much from here, but I held in place what I could. I'm suspecting you're going to try and go to Petrectufus?"
The king and his son both nodded their heads.
"Alright,"said Afflegaffen. "I cannot directly cast my spells outside of this tower, with the exception of the riddle spell. However, I can put spells on objects. For example, I could give you this staff." As he picked it up, a sharp rock appeared on its tip. "I could cast a spell so that no matter how bad your aim, the spear will always travel where you intend it to go." He handed it to Nickolas. The boy threw the spear down at his foot. It whisked around and changed course, heading for a target that hung from one of the walls.
Afflegaffen went to retrieve the spear. He set it on a table, and then it morphed back into the staff it been not a minute ago. "If you took that with you, it would still hold the spell. I will give you this rock. It can portal you or anyone you want, anywhere you want to go. Just hold this rock, say the person's name and the place, and they will be transported there. It should help you on your journey to Petrectufus. To reclaim the kingdom, gather a rock, from the shore, and bring it back to Empetria. Touch the rock to your crown, and Leonson will be compelled to leave." He handed the magic stone to Negulus.
"Nickolas and Negulus, to Petrectufus!" cried Negulus.
In a flash of light, they were gone.
In a flash of light, Nickolas and Negulus vanished from Afflegaffen's tower. The light blinded them so they couldn't see. When it cleared, it was easy to see that they were no longer in a tower. The king and his son now stood on a beautiful beach. A seemingly endless ocean stood in front of them, and a colossal mountain was behind them.
Nickolas had lived in the valley of Empetria his whole life. He had been surrounded by the mountains that made up the valley. The mountain that stood before him was identical to the ones from home, except on a much larger scale. Also, the mountain had a portcullis just as the castle of Empetria did. "Is that where we're going?" asked Nickolas, pointing towards the mountainous door.
"Yes. The people who live there are the defenders of this shore, and the wisest minds in Duecontius. They might be able to help us with our predicament." Negulus walked over to the door of the mountain. He held up his hand. The portcullis sprang open surprisingly quick. The two walked through the opening, into blackness.
As soon as they had crossed the threshold, the portcullis slammed back into place, and torches, much like the ones in Afflegaffen's tower, burst into flame. Negulus and his son followed the illuminated hall until they came to an extremely big cave that led off from the tunnel. Upon entering, they found it was a library.
An aisle led from one end of the chamber to the other. Starting at the door, there were bookshelves, for about five rows on either side. Then, there was space where tables were placed. Men and women sat at these tables, studying books, scrolls, and manuscripts. After the tables ended, there was a supreme looking figure. He could have been the king. He had a full suit of armor on and a sword at his side, but he, like the others, was reading a book.
Negulus walked down the aisle, and approached the kingly figure. Nickolas hurried to follow. All of the scholars on either side of him turned to look as Nickolas walked past.
"Arthapedian, I have a favor to ask you," said Negulus. "My kingdom has been overrun by Leonson, an evil wizard."
"Ah, yes. Iknow of Leonson." Unlike Negulus, Arthapedian spoke with a harsh rasp.
"Before we could object, Leonson took our crown. I studied the Empetrian law, and found away to gain back our kingdom. By then, Leonson had already changed a large portion of law," Negulus clarified.
"And you came to me to ask for a stone from my beach?"
"Yes. Afflegaffen told us to come here. Did he make you those torches?"
"Yes he made the torches. I can give you even more than a rock. You may look at any of the books from my library. We keep excellent records. In addition, you understand that we are exceptional at training heroes for baffle. I can train your son. I'm sure that in the near future, he will need to fight someone.
"Master Evoltias, unfortunately, I can't let you inside the city gates," admitted Leonson. He was still using his magical communication.
"This is an outrage!" cried Evoltias clearly disgusted. "Your job was simply to get inside the city gates and drive Negulus, and his revolting son out. You accomplished this. Now you say I won't be allowed to come inside?"
"Master-it's-um-complicated magic." Leonson didn't want Evoltias inside the city. He knew that Duecontius was a land that consisted partly of magic. Empetria was a major key to taking over this magical land. The art of magic had been lost over the millennium; Leonson felt that it was only right for a wizard to rule the land. "Master, I'll keep trying, but Empetria seems to think you don't belong. When I tried to open the gates for you, they refused to budge."
"You repulsive lowly servant! You know I don't believe in all that superstition. You will find a way. You understand that you don't want me as your enemy, Leonson. If you don't let me in, I will find
my own way in!"
Negulus and Nickolas had gone to Arthapedian's private chamber. This too, had a thrown. Instead of the grander option, Arthapedian directed them to a curtain that hung over the left wall as soon as they walked in. The curtain seemed to be made of tiny gold beads strung on minuscule threads, creating the effect of walking through a drape of gold.
Through the entryway walked the threesome. Arthapedian directed them to sit on comfy looking couches that lined the perimeter of the chamber.
"The curtain was another one of Afflegaffen's inventions. No one can pass through this curtain unless I direct them; it will appear as solid rock.
"I would like to explain some battle defense ideas to help you defend Empetria. I am awonderful strategist, and I'm sure I can help. Even though it seems like Leonson is in control, I wouldn't necessarily believe that. I'm sure a Warlord would want a wizard under his control. I doubt Leonson would try to overthrow an entire kingdom simply with magical power.
"I've heard that Evoltias has come to Duecontius."
"Evoltias?The most wicked warlord the world has ever seen? How did he pass through your guard?" asked Negulus.
"Again, that is the reason Evoltias would want a wizard on his side. We deal with defending this shore with physical arms, not magic. Leonson could easily baffle our defenses."
"So you think that Evoltias is here in Duecontius?" said Negulus, asking for clarification.
"Very well. What do you suggest we do?" asked Negulus.
"Leonson seems to want your kingdom just as much as Evoltias does. Leonson will lie to his master, saying he can't open the gates. Evoltias will believe the wizard for a time. When that time is up, he will attack Empetria. By now, I'm sure, all of those loyal to you will have been forced to leave the city. Leonson will only have his magic to defend the city. When Leonson falls to his own master, he will know that his master has betrayed him. He might be persuaded to join your side. If not you might have to kill him. With the evil magic aspect taken out of this war, you have a much higher chance of winning."
Nickolas spoke up, "Also, we have Afflegaffen. He could try and help."
"Yes...that...might actually work!" exclaimed Arthapedian. "After Leonson is defeated, Afflegaffen can drop all boundaries, protecting Empetria from invasion. Then I can bring some of my
forces and storm the gates of Empetria, reclaiming your kingdom."
Evoltias was on the move again. His soldiers had left camp early that morning. They would either be let inside by Leonson...or force their way in. The portcullis was insight.
Standing below the parapet, Evoltias shouted, "Leonson, I'm ready to take my kingdom. You know who is master. Now show it!"
Leonson appeared on the parapet. "I'm sorry master. You know about Empetrian magic. It's much too strong. I-"
"Do you really expect me to fall for that? I'm not blind. Anyone could see as easily as I can that you want the kingdom for yourself."
Leonson tried to say something but Evoltias cut him off.
"You will turn the kingdom over to me or I will attack."
"Never! I rightfully claimed this kingdom from Negulus!" shouted Leonson. I won't give it up to an evil warlord like you."
"Then prepare to die!" Evoltias said to the wizard. "Attack!" he directed his army.
The battle raged for hours. At first it seemed to be going fairly. Evoltias' army fired arrows with bows, or launched rocks with slings. Leonson would counter with magic beams of light, which disintegrated the missiles that Evoltias was throwing. Leonson was standing on the wall to get a better view of the attacks the enemy was throwing at him.
Unfortunately for the wizard, this would be his fatal mistake. An arrow from Evoltias's own bow pierced Leonson. The wizard fell to the ground, with a cry.
"Bring out the siege tower!" commanded Evoltias. The siege tower was a gigantic tower that warlords had been using for centuries to get into castles and forts. You would climb the tower and use a bridge to get onto the castle's parapet.
Within five minutes, Evoltias and his army had conquered Empetria, and were inside.
Negulus, Nickolas, Arthapedian, and other reinforcements from Petrectufus, were marching back to Empetria. They had left about an hour ago, and would reach Negulus's kingdom in about a day.
Meanwhile, Evoltias had set about changing some things at Empetria. All the tapestries that showed Empetrian kings, all the way back to the founder of Empetria, had to go. That was one of the things that Leonson would have come in handy for, thought Evoltias. Leonson could have made the tapestries depict the warlord with a flick of the wrist. Oh well. He would just have to burn them. The royal bedroom would be redecorated how Evoltias liked it. And of course, Empetrian flag would be replaced, this time, bearing Evoltias's symbol. Last but not least, Empetria would become known as Evoltiomas; when a warlord conquered acity, he had the right to rename it after himself.
While Evoltias was lounging around the royal bedroom, the true king and enforcements were just arriving outside the palace gates. The sky was beginning to streak with red and blue hues from the sunset. Leonson was lying on the ground; he seemed to be close to death.
Nickolas saw him first, and rushed over. "What happened to your' Nickolas asked with
"Evoltias tried to kill me. I'm so sorry for what I've done. I know that! Deserve to die, and I will. I was hoping you would arrive here before I passed. I kept myself alive by using simple magic. Unfortunately this just cannot sustain me long."The wizard had tears in his eyes as he talked.
Negulus walked up.
Leonson kept taking. "I knew all about your father. He is truly a great king. You are truly his son, and you should be proud." Leonson had a fit of coughing, but then recovered. "I deeply regret attempting to steal your kingdom." Leonson turned to Negulus. "So will Evoltias-if you hurry. When I knew I was going to be beaten by my former master, I magically dug an entry way. The gate can admit your entire army in about a minute, you must speak the password-the secret word is-" The wizard had another fit of coughing. The two royals wondered whether they would be able to hear the pass-code in time. "-the password is 'The bloodline of Empetrian kings.' The tunnel starts to the right of the portcullis. If you stand within ten feet of the great door, a second portcullis will materialize and open." Leonson turned back towards Nickolas again. "I know you will make a great king. Go now." Leonson then breathed his last breath.
Nickolas and Negulus ran to the great portcullis of Empetria.
"The bloodline of Empetrian kings!" shouted Negulus. A mysterious noise sounded and a second door blinked into existence.
"I'll gather Arthapedian and the others,"offered Nickolas.
Soon, the entire army had assembled, and had started to enter the city. When about half of the soldiers from Petrectufus had entered, Negulus and his son followed suit. The tunnel was dark, but the walls were smooth, and seemed to be made of marble or granite. They glowed with a light of their own; Nickolas could see, even though there was no light. Eventually they made it out into the courtyard, in which Nickolas had spent a lot of his time playing as a child.
"I'm going up to my bedroom to get my sword," stated Nickolas. "Then I can help everyone else with the battle. "Nickolas watched the army of Petrectufus spread out over the castle grounds. He walked ten feet from where he stood, to the palace door. He opened it, and walked inside. Everything he had known from when his father was king had changed. When Negulus ruled, the castle had always been sparkling clean. Now an inch of dust clung to every surface. The tapestries that had once hung from every wall were shredded, or else completely removed.
Nickolas started along the familiar path to his bedroom, noticing with disgust, the filthy and worn surfaces of the once glittering castle. He reached his bedroom. It was lined with pictures of all the former kings of Empetria. At certain times, he thought he saw the pictures move. He had long ago decided that it must have been a trick of the light. But knowing Alfalfaffen, he wasn't sure. Nickolas rested his hand on the painting of the first king of Empetria-Nickolas I. The painting slid aside-this must have been one of Afflegaffen's tricks as well-showing a sword. The sword was silver. It was polished super smooth, and had a shining, red pommel stone at the end of the hilt. Nickolas noticed something for the first time; the blade of the sword was inscribed with the words, "Nickolas I-Founder of Empetria." He couldn't lose the battle now; he had his namesake's sword. The one who had built Empetria.... Nickolas was ready. He stepped outside, and gasped in horror.
"Three...Two...One...Charge!" Arthapedian had stationed a soldier at every available entrance to the castle. On the word'charge' everyone forced entry. Evil was soon to be conquered; Negulus had returned with reinforcements.
"It's the little Empetrian King,"crooned Evoltias. "I should have had Leonson kill you, but no, I'll do it myself. Believe me. I enjoy killing my enemies."
"Even if you kill me, my father has brought a legion of soldiers from Petrectufus. Killing a member of the royal family would cause you certain doom."
It may have been a trick of the light, but it seemed as though Evoltias had showed a faint hint of fear, appearing only for a second, but none-the-less, there. That was when Nickolas chose to attack.
Evoltias was an impressively large man. He had jet black hair, and eyes. His sword was broader than Nickolas's but not as long. He was about the same height as Nickolas.
Once the battle had begun, Nickolas realized he was thankful for the hours of training he had undergone with Arthapedian. All of his efforts were defensive. Evoltias was so intent on killing him that Nickolas was barely getting in a strike of his own.
Evoltias was getting tired, why couldn't Nickolas lay his life down? Nickolas had somehow been trained by someone other than his incompetent father. Yes, it must have been Arthapedian. Every warrior Arthapedian trained grew up to be a great fighter-equal to Evoltias's skills. The warlord had never had anyone to actually train him for war; he learned most of his techniques by fighting amongst other children in his homeland, or intimidation. These methods were what propelled him to become the most feared warrior in the land.
Evoltias's constant thrusts subsided for a moment. Nickolas saw his chance. This was what Nickolas had been waiting for! He had been hoping that Evoltias would be shocked by his skill, resulting in the warlord's loss of concentration, and....
Evoltias had his sword in his right hand. His attentiveness wandered for less than a second; his sword was over too far to his right side, leaving his chest wide open. That was when Nickolas thrust his sword into the warlord's un-armored chest. Evoltias fell back, and lay on the ground.
Nickolas marched up to him and bent down, until his face was an inch from the warlord's.
"Thought I would be easier to kill, didn't you?"
"Yes," rasped Evoltias. "You were trained by Arthapedian? Your father chose well when educating you. You have bested me. I will not beg for mercy. Do not spare me. Just kill me. I have desperately wanted to kill /you/, and take control of Empetria. Your victory shows that I am not the person to do it. However, I feel you and your father are unworthy to rule a kingdom. I hope that one day, someone capable of wiping you off the face of the earth, does. Goodbye."
Nickolas didn't even have to kill the warlord; Evoltias burst into emerald green flames. When the blaze cleared, Evoltias was gone.
"It's all over!" cried Nickolas. "Evoltias, the warlord is dead. I finished him off."
Nickolas was surprised; the fighting in the palace grounds stopped immediately.
"Your master is gone."
The evil army had been stunned into shock. The news that their master was dead was too much to bear. They allowed themselves to be chained up, and moved against the castle wall.
Nickolas strode over to meet them. "You have been disgraceful, as has your master. I will not accept your actions; however I will be a merciful king. You will be allowed to leave here. Arthapedian's soldiers will escort you from my kingdom to a land far away. None of you will be within a mile of each other, and your movements will be monitored. Any attempts to re organize will result in your immediate death."
Negulus had come to join the gathering. "Spoken like a true king," Negulus said to his son. "Arthapedian, could you send some of your soldiers to collect the faithful members of my kingdom? Leonson tried to weed out those who were truly loyal to me, and would refuse to go over to his side. We want our kingdom reunited.
"I believe that yet another coronation feast is in order. Someone, please inform the kitchens! My son has truly proven himself worthy of the crown, and he will be remembered as the king who defeated the evil warlord, Evoltias."
"Welcome back to Empetria, those of you who were banished. I'm sure that you have heard rumors regarding the events that have occurred in this kingdom. Nickolas, would you care to give everyone afull account of what happened?" queried Negulus.
Nickolas arose, and walked up to where his father was standing, and told the story, perfectly.
"Now who thinks that Nickolas is the new rightful king?" asked Negulus.
The outside courtyard was filled with applause and cheering so loud that, it could have very easily broken the windows of the castle.
"Now please eat this wonderful feast the kitchens have prepared for us. I have examined it, and it is the best food these plates have ever held. This feast is to honor the great deeds of King Nickolas. He will truly be a fabulous king." Negulus took his crown off and placed it on his son's head.
One by one, the people of Empetria rose to their feet, and applauded.